By Abigail Nelson
Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah congratulates Maine, saying, “Curves don’t flatten themselves, viruses don’t just disappear, and epidemics don’t just go away on their own. All of those things happen because each and every one of you has taken the steps that public health folk have recommended. It is because of you that we have been successful thus far at flattening the curve.”
Governor Janet Mills opened the CDC briefing May 1 by announcing that citizens in Maine are now able to receive healthcare that had been put off due to the virus, attend church while adhering to social distancing suggestions, and get their hair done and beards trimmed in salons and barber shops across the state. “These are important and meaningful first steps towards creating a new normal.” Governor Mills said.
At the same time, Governor Mills urged the public, and especially the businesses that remain shuttered, to ‘stay the course’ and continue abiding by health guidelines. While acknowledging the public’s frustrations about the continued quarantine and its effect on the economy – and on the vital upcoming tourist season – Governor Mills counseled caution in the face of the deadly virus.
Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah reported that as of May 1, two more people had died in Maine due to complications of COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths to 55. There have now been a total of 1,123 positive cases, with an increase of 28 in a 24-hour period. 253 health care workers have tested positive for COVID-19. There has been an increase of seven hospitalizations in a 24-hour period, with a total of 177 people that have been hospitalized at one point, and 37 people still. 17 people are in intensive care. Only nine people are on ventilators. Maine has seen an increase of 26 people who have recovered, bringing the total number of people recovered to 657. As of May 1, there have been no new outbreaks. Most of the outstanding cases are of people in long term care facilities.
On May 1 alone, 33 orders for personal protection equipment (PPE) were fulfilled. In total, 1,350 orders for PPE have been fulfilled over the course of the pandemic. 80% of those orders have gone to long term care facilities while the remainder has gone to local emergency responders. Across Maine there are 330 ICU beds, 171 of which are available. In addition, there are 316 ventilators, with 290 of them available. Dr. Shah stated that the CDC is well stocked with medical supplies.